Case Study: 90% recycled content flint bottle

In 2019, DB Breweries and O-I Glass produced a 90% recycled content flint beer bottle using high-quality recycled glass (cullet) collected during the previous summer. Flint bottles produced in New Zealand typically contain around 45% recycled content. This is in part due to the availability of high-quality cullet, but also in-specification colour requirements for premium, consumer-facing flint glass bottles.

10 million 90%-recycled flint bottles were produced over a two-week period in September/October 2019. These were delivered to DB Breweries for trial and testing during production, and then put into circulation through our DB Export brand over the 2019/20 summer period. The initiative was high risk/high reward because a trial could not be done in advance, so there was one shot at producing this bottle and approving it within hours of the production starting.

This initiative was a true end-to-end collaboration between O-I and DB Breweries. It involved teams from each organisation, including Supply Chain, Sales, Corporate Affairs, Procurement and Brand Marketing, to ensure we produced a sustainable packaging solution that could be used in the beer production process, transported around the country, kept our beer fresh, and met consumers’ expectations around packaging quality.

Results

This initiative has the potential to significantly reduce glass waste and emissions from packaging, not just in New Zealand, but globally. It demonstrates that with good quality cullet in place, we can produce a bottle with reduced environmental impact while meeting container integrity and in-specification colour requirements. Quality was not compromised in any way, and the bottle could withstand production and product safety processes. Importantly, the initiative saved over 800,000 kg of CO2e when compared with imported virgin glass bottles and led to a 45% increase in recycled glass content for 10 million bottles.